curated by Walter Guadagnini
“Staged” emphasizes the processes of image construction that characterises the work of Anton Corbijn (Strijen, Netherlands, 1955).
The exhibition presents a selection of images from two photographic series with a conceptual imprint, and is then completed with the fascinating human landscape collected by Corbijn during a 40-year career. A master of portraiture, the photographer is best known for his extraordinary human documentation work over the years, which has led him to be the visual biographer of the greatest stars of the international music, film and contemporary art scene.
Many of these portraits have become the official face of the idols of the generations born and raised since the late 1970s, including Johnny Cash, Kate Bush, David Bowie, Nick Cave, Joy Division, the Rolling Stones, Tom Waits and above all U2 and Depeche Mode. Among the cult protagonists of the new wave of the 1980s, it is precisely the latter, in fact, that are the prime example of a particular association between photographer and subject, which in their case takes the form of more than twenty video clips and over thirty-five years of photographic reportage.
The exhibition also highlights Corbijn’s artistic experiments. With 33 Still Lives, the focus returns to the subject: the protagonists are the celebrities that Corbijn has actually met and immortalised, creating mise-en-scènes – short one-shot scripts – that draw the photographed subjects into new narratives, beyond the clichés of glossy images. These are compositions with a filmic flavour and colour, which revisit portrait photography in a more narrative and at the same time visionary key.
In the a. somebody series, on the other hand, Corbijn transforms his own image, dressing the clothes of iconic characters from international rock music who died prematurely.
A journey through Corbijn’s career, created through the faces of the people who composed and inspired it.
Anton Corbijn (Strijen, Netherlands, 1955) started taking photographs in 1972. In 1979 he moved to London and started his collaboration with the New Musical Express, which lasted until 1985, putting him in touch with figures such as U2 and Depeche Mode. Since 1980 he has been working as a freelancer with major representatives of the international music scene, also shooting numerous award-winning video clips. In 2007 he made his first feature film: Control, dedicated to the life of Ian Curtis of Joy Division, followed by The American (2010) with George Clooney, The Spy – A Most Wanted Man (2014) with Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Life (2015) with Robert Pattinson, dedicated to the friendship between photographer Dennis Stock and James Dean.
In the meantime, his international reputation as a photographer is also growing, as witnessed by his numerous exhibitions in institutional spaces such as C/O Berlin (Berlin), Bucerius Kunst Forum (Hamburg), Fotografiska Museum (Stockholm), FOMU (Antwerp), Gemeentemuseum (The Hague), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Palazzo Fortuny (Venice), Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, Castello di Rivoli (Turin).